The novel “The Great Gatsby” is set during the ‘roaring 20s’. The story of the great Gatsby unfolds in the jazz age New York City through Nick Carraway’s narrative. Nick was born in the midwest, and later went to New York to study and manage the stock business, wanting to make a fortune. He lives on the East egg in long island, where the ‘new money’ lives, opposed of the West egg where the social elites ‘old money’ resides. Nick is neighbour to the story’s protagonist Jay Gatsby and makes friends with him at one of Gatsby’s dazzling party. Gatsby, formerly known as Jimmy Gatz, is also from the Midwest, he was born poor, but ambitious, and later earned his fortune through bootlegging-selling illegal alcohol. ‘Gatsbyhad waited five years and bought a mansion where he dispensed starlight to casual moths’ (Nick Carraway, Pg63)-constantly hosting extravagant luxury parties at his mansion with endless guests coming to each, ‘expecting his old love Daisy to wander into one of his parties, some night'(Jordan Baker, Pg63). Daisy was his lover five years ago while Gatsby serves in the WW1. After Gatsby left for overseas trip she married Tom Buchanan, heir to an extremely wealthy family. With Nick’s help, Gatsby seems to be rekindling the relationship. But Daisy is no longer the old Daisy, she is not the once-innocent girl, but a selfish, shallow and carelessly hurtful woman, despite her angelic appearance and endearing languages. Daisy later kills Tom’s mistress driving Gatsby’s car then drove away without showing the slightest of hesitation. Gatsby plans on taking the blame because of ‘the colossal vitality of his illusion'(Pg76) that Daisy truly loves him and he would still win her back somehow. This ultimately leads to the deceased’s husband to shoot Gatsby and then kills himself. Daisy, however, completely abandons Gatsby in his death. After killing Myrtle, she returns home and resolve the differences with her husband then leave soon thereafter for a trip out of the country. In the end Nick was left to make arrangements for Gatsby’s funeral, which only the servants and one guest from a previous party shows up to. Despite his popularity while he was alive, Gatsby was left completely alone and uncared for in death and soon forgotten.
The three vital characters in this modern tragedy are the narrator Nick Carraway, the protagonist Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, whom Gatsby is infatuated with. Nick, both a narrator and a participant in this story, seems to be the only one who is moved by the events of the story while the other characters remain unbothered. Nick comes from a prominent family where his granduncle sent a substitute to fight in the civil war, using that time to start a business and become very wealthy. After WW1 Nick goes to New York to learn bond business. He rents a small bungalow that neighbours Gatsby’s ‘Hôtel de Ville from Normandy’ (Pg6) style mansion in the West egg , which is across from East egg, where Nick’s cousin Daisy resides. As the story unfolds, it was clear that Nick is very different from the socialites around him who are selfish, reckless and immoral. He does not get blinded by the dazzling life they live and when he finally realizes these East egg residents are truly horrible and careless people, he pulls away and goes back to the midwest. Nick is caring and kind with a sense of what is right and wrong, he is the only one who truly cares about Gatsby and stays to make sure everything was taken care of even though he is not obligated. He is apparently also the only one who was moved by the death of Myrtle and was deeply disgusted by how the Buchanans treat lower classes as expendable. Jay Gatsby, formerly known as Jimmy Gatz, also comes from the midwest, only he is born poor. Gatsby is charismatic, ambitious and truly the representation of the ‘ American Dream’. He falls in love with Daisy after they met in the summer while he was serving in the army, then they begin a relationship which ultimately ends before Daisy’s marriage to Tom. However it is questionable wether Gatsby is in love with Daisy as a person or rather just the idea of her and what she represents to him. He mets her as a penniless young man but he keeps a facade of him having the same social status as her while in the relationship with her. Gatsby is amazed by Daisy’s lavish, wealthy life and her beautiful house with ‘gay and radiant activities taking place through its corridors and of romances that were not musty and laid away already in lavender, but fresh and breathing in the redolent of this year’s shiny motor cars and of dances whose flowers were secretly weathered'(Pg121). Daisy represents wealth, elitism, glamor, and a life that Gatsby vaguely yearns for before meeting Daisy. She becomes a visual representation of everything he desires first before he realizes that he is in love with her. So in a way Gatsby loves what Daisy represents first before loving her as a person. Gatsby dedicates the rest of his life to getting the ‘enchanted objects’ in his life, most of which relates to Daisy. He earns his wealth through bootlegging and buys a grandiose mansion which is across from Daisy’s house on the opposite side of the bay. Then he throws parties to attract upper class guests in hoping Daisy would be one of them. Gatsby’s ‘rags to riches’ story truly makes him great but he is blindingly idealistic because he thinks he can recapture old dreams which causes his ultimate demise. ‘Gatsby has come a long way to his blue lawn, and his dream seemsso close that he can hardly fail to grasp it. He doesnot know that it isalready behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.” (Pg148) ‘ Daisy’s voice is full of money – that is the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it… high in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl'(Chapter 7). Daisy Buchanan is born into an extremely elite family with endless wealth, which is what intrigued Gatsby upon their first encounter. Despite her ethereal charms she is extremely selfish and careless. She represents not only Gatsby’s dream life, but also the decay of humanity during the 1920s. During the war Daisy invites soldiers to come to her own home to attend parties nightly, then she has a relationship with Gatsby because she thinks he is rich, and after Gatsby leaves Daisy quickly settles with the rich and powerful Tom due to his wealth and status. Years later when Gatsby returns with opulent wealth, she supposedly falls in love with him again and starts an affair with Gatsby. Although her motive here is questionable to wether she is doing so to get back at her cheating husband or of actual affections towards Gatsby. Then after she hits Myrtle, she does not seem to be bothered and resolves her problems with Tom and plans a trip out of the country with him while Gatsby takes the fall and later murdered by Myrtle’s husband in cold blood. In the end Gatsby dies in his marble pool while ‘Tom and Daisy – after they smash up things and creatures , retreat back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that keepsthem together and let other people clean up the mess theymake” ( Pg146)
The novel “The Great Gatsby” is set in New York City during the post war period. It portrays 1920s era and its problems perfectly. The main characters live on West and East egg while Myrtle Wilson and her husband lives in the ‘Valley of Ashes—a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air’ (Chapter2). The story is told in the perspective of Nick Carraway, the readers watches how the wealthiest people in one of the most prosperous time in the United States history lives their carefree lives. F.Scott Fitzgerald uses the phrase ‘the holocaust was complete’ at the end of chapter 9 since both Gatsby and Wilson are innocent victims of unfaithful women and their careless acts, further more, all three victims are not of the upper social class . They are involved with people of opulent wealth but they are not one of them, and in the end, only the riches survives. The novel tells a tragedy with lavishly beautiful languages, with a lot of metaphors and similes and through this tragedy Fitzgerald shows how empty the lives of these wealthiest people are despite owning everything they would ever want. Through out the novel Fitzgerald uses the colour gold and yellow to represent wealth and extravagance and it also represents the prosperity in life such as golden opportunities and golden ages. Another enchanting object is the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock which represents Gatsby’s hope and the hazy, elusive future everyone faces . The plot is intriguing and rich while the languages used are lush and reflects on the extravagant lives the characters live. It is hard to pinpoint the best moment but it was truly classic when a drunken guest crashes his car outside Gatsby’s party and ‘all he can do is repeat that “It happened, and that’s all I know’ (Chapter 3). This is both hilarious and pathetic because it sums up the life during the jazz age. Everyone is swept away by this new dazzling and gleaming lifestyle and goes along with it without knowing what exactly they’re doing. All they wants is ‘ to have a leisurely and debaucherous life where they haveenough money to buy fancy new cars and enough whisky to crash them'(John Green).
At the end of the First World War, the second industrial revolution was just coming to an end as well. As the victorious country of the First World War, the United States surpassed the Great Britain to become the largest power in the capitalist world and saw the unprecedented economic prosperity in their future. The soaring economy offers the nation a new, extravagant lifestyle. Cars, electric lights and telephones facilitated people’s lives. Everyone felt that they will not fight again and it was time to have fun. The younger generation even felt that they have entered a new era of joy and gloriousness. They began to abandon the traditional moral standards, started worshipping money , praising hedonism, and spend all their time indulged in a lavish and luxurious life style. The cost of economic prosperity was the decline of the ‘American Dream’ and the decay of social and moral value. Fitzgerald wrote this novel to reflect on the society during that time, how despite the prosperity such as the ones in New York City and long island, the ‘foul dust floats in the wake of the American Dreams’ (Chapter 1) and the society has a bleak future since the ‘parties’ will not last forever and the garbages piling up at the ‘Valley of Ashes’ will eventually devour the golden age. This novel is also a representation of the author’s life since he gains overnight fame from one of his novel and he lives a magnificent and lavish life with his beautiful wife, but much like Gatsby in this novel, the fame brought them problems when their extravagant lifestyle almost bankrupt them. In the end the author died of a heart attack at the age 44 after years of excessive drinking and a few years later his wife died alone in a psychiatric hospital. The American Dream lives in all of us and some times we lose our ways chasing the green light that ‘recedes before us, but that’s no matter because tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…And one fine morning ——
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne ceaselessly into the past'( Pg148).